For many years the hallmark of a well maintained home was the golf course green trimming of the yard and paved walkways surrounded by meticulously trimmed bushes in geometric patterns. Flowers and plants were selected based on carefully conceived color coordination with garden furniture and it seemed that the goal was to make the lawn look as artificial as possible.
This look was carefully crafted with liberal use of lawn chemicals and a small fleet of gas and electric mowers, trimmers, cutters, and dethatchers. Flowers are forced to bloom in precise order by use of specialized fertilizers and annuls were planted and then plucked to be replaced with the next in the planned series.
The cost of this style of lawn maintenance goes far beyond the dollars spent on potted plants, chemicals, and fertilizers. Each of these chemicals leach into the ground water, each machine used to craft this show pollutes the air with noise and burns fossil fuels through inadequately refined engines (lawnmowers often put out more carbon into the environment than a car per hour), and the natural fauna in an area is eradicated to be replaced for the year by an imported impersonation of nature that often in the end becomes an invasive species to be dealt with by even more chemical solutions well beyond the carefully manicured borders.
A Newer Earth Friendly Trend
In recent years a more natural look has gained popularity. The cultivation of local plants and grasses, selection of trees and fauna that are native to an area, and the end goal of a tranquil natural yard and garden that allows for a peaceful merging of the home and nature has taken root.
The goal in a natural garden and lawn is simple, control of weeds and plants as opposed to eradication, enjoyment of the different colors and textures that are indigenous to every area, natural water features to encourage birds and insects instead of the ceramic birdbaths.
This style allows birds and bees a place to live and make into a habitat shared with humanity instead of over run by it. Allowing trees to give shade as opposed to removing every tree and filling the yard with umbrellas for the same purpose.
The use of natural fertilizers such as compost and manure instead of phosphorous based artificial fertilizers is more than adequate when growing plants that are indigenous to an area. Instead of the chemical additives to water feature, try barley straw or or barley straw extract for water features to control algae, and ensure there is some water circulation to allow the natural nitrogen cycle to work to keep water from getting rancid. Adding fish to the water features will control insect larvae and flowering pond plants will prevent temperature extremes in circulated water.
This small step towards making homes and communities work in their natural surroundings as opposed to in competition with them will not only help the environment, it will teach us to appreciate what we have instead of strive to change all we see…..